Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth is a
memoir by Sarah Smarsh. It follows Smarsh’s childhood growing up below the poverty line in
Kansas. Smarsh details her life as well as the life of her family members and contains
commentary on class and identity.
This is a touching and enthralling memoir by Smarsh. Her stories are well-written and
entertaining and her commentary is excellently incorporated. Her family members are interesting
and compelling characters that add a lot of depth to the novel. As someone who has lived in
Kansas my whole life, it was exciting to see a novel written about the state as not a lot are.
Readers may struggle with the lack of relevance in Smarsh’s references to her never-born child
and the novel feels repetitive at times, however neither took much away from my enjoyment of
I recommend this book for fans of memoir and fellow Kansans. I rate this book 4 stars.